The main mission of the Environmental department is environmental protection. One of the numerous activities of the Department is forecasting the air-pollution rate by using its analytical models developed on the basis of its long experience in environmental measurements. The Department’s applicative activities are made compliably with validated methods and accredited standard procedures.
In its applicative and research work the Environmental Department is using the most advanced currently available technology. The focus of its work is on providing environmental feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments, technical consultancy, surveillance over construction and operation of plants and facilities and development of future technologies to be used in the area of environmental protection and optimal use of space.
As seen from the past experiences, most of the organisations acting in the area of energy, intensive industry branches and traffic are seeking professional support in solving their everyday more and more serious spatial and environmental issues. The latter ones - being copped with by local communities and various civil associations - have become particularly important. It is for this reason that the Environmental Department is closely collaborating with thermal production utilities and Holding of the Slovenian power plants, Transmission System Operator, power distribution utilities and the Drava River Power Plants of Maribor. For the Municipality of Ljubljana, which is very efficient in adopting measures towards air-quality improvement, and the Municipality of Celje, the Environmental Department operates their external-air measurement systems.
Within the frame of international professional working bodies and associations (CIGRE, CIRED, HARMO, IMEKO, NEA/OECD, VGB), the Department associates contribute an important share to the advancements of the environmental profession on the world level which - at a certain stage - they introduce in Slovenia through close collaboration with various domestic and foreign institutions (Faculty of electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and Faculty of Power Engineering of University of Maribor, TU Graz, K&EF and GRNSPG).
Major mile-stones importantly marking the work of the Environmental Department
The Milan Vidmar Electric Power Research Institute has been involved with solving environmental-protection issues and investigation of environmental impacts resulting from operation of the electric power system from the very beginning of its existence. By setting up in 1982 the Environmental Department - which had evolved from the Power Plant Department – the various fields of environmental protection have been readdressed with a new vigour. In the 80s of the past century, the Department played an important role in organising a system of operational monitoring of air emissions and implementation of remedial measures by thermal power plants with the target of improving the air quality.
From the beginning of the 90s of the past century, the Department has been monitoring and assuring quality of permanent measurements of air emission and of measurements of external air and for operators of large burning systems it has been preparing monthly and annual reports either proving or disapproving environmental acceptability of their operation, thus providing data on emissions for the needs of national and European data collection centres. Over the time of its existence, the Environmental Department has expanded its environmental supporting activities from the production part of the electricity supply industry to its transmission and distribution parts.
Enforcement of the novel Law on Environmental Protection in 2004 gave rise to important changes. From then on the responsibility for environmental assessments has been transferred to those applying for construction permits and the responsibility for providing final reports on environmental effects to competent environmental institutions. Adoption of this novelty has promoted knowledge spreading among service providers and emergence of new bidders in the service market, the final consequence being enlarged scope of activities of consulting organisations in the area of environmental protection.
In 2005, the Department was granted Accreditation for its methods developed for measuring environmental impacts. Based on its incentive to set up - compliably with EN ISO/IEC 17025 - a common quality system for testing laboratories, the Slovenian Accreditation Body presented to it, at the end of 2004, the Accreditation Chart. The Chart has later been extended to include also the area of electromagnetic compatibility, noise and tests made at the Institute’s High-voltage Laboratory.
In 2009, the Department implemented - in compliance with specifications of EN ISO/IEC 17020 – also a Quality System for Monitoring Bodies for which it was granted accreditation, too.
The dynamics at which environmental sciences are developing requires fast adaptation of any one whose activities affect the environment. The Environmental Department therefore constantly develops and intensifies its professional skills and knowledge by closely following the global development of environmental techniques and international commitments and conventions. Positively passed past experiences and consistent fulfilment of more and more rigorous environmental requirements on the side of its business partners prove that the current policy of the Environmental Department has been properly selected. In future, too, the Department will strive towards meeting its environmental commitments.